The first time I experienced lettuce wraps was as in a restaurant as a shared appetizer between friends. I fell in love with the irresistible combination of cold and warm, soft and crunchy, spicy and slightly sweet. The only regret was having to share them!
It didn’t take long for me to start experimenting and make them at home both as appetizers and main entrees. What I’ve discovered is that there isn’t just one way to make lettuce wraps. It’s a general idea, more than a specific recipe just like a smoothie, soup or sandwich wrap. The idea is to wrap cool crisp lettuce around a warm flavorful filling (pulled pork, shredded chicken, Asian inspired ground meat filling) and top it with fresh veggies (shredded carrots, cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, etc) and a little bit of crunch (cashews, water chestnuts, chow mein noodles, etc.
Need more details? Here’s our favorite Asian inspired ground meat filling. We’ve used ground chicken, beef and turkey for this filling – each one has been a success. For best results, I recommend choosing lean ground beef or pork to reduce fat but opting for ground turkey or chicken thighs (instead of breasts) to amp up the fat and flavor in poultry meat.
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 lb ground turkey/beef/chicken/pork - your choice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 4 white mushrooms, finely diced (optional, see note)
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil
- 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 Head Iceberg Lettuce
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add ground meat to pan and saute until brown.
- Stir in garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute.
- Add mushrooms and red pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until tender.
- Stir in sesame oil, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and hot pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cashews, sesame seeds, green onions and carrots. Alternatively, serve these ingredients as toppings and allow each guest to add their favorite toppings.
- Serve with separated, washed and dried lettuce leaves.
- Mixing finely diced mushrooms with ground meat is a great way to add extra nutrients. For example, did you know mushrooms are a source of Vitamin D?! And no one will even notice them in these tasty lettuce wraps!
Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.